Italy: holy smoke! Pope swerves off track for Marlboro
Around a billion people in the world are Catholics. Large numbers are found in South America, and in developing countries in other parts of the world. So as with other important issues, if the Pope and other senior officials of the catholic church were to take a strong lead on tobacco, it would deal a serious blow to the big tobacco companies, hitting them hardest in some of the very places where they are recruiting vast numbers of new smokers, including some of the fastest growing youth populations in the world.
Two events around the end of last year show that if the Catholic church develops a serious policy on smoking, Philip Morris, at least, will not take it lying down. In late December, as Catholics the world over tune in more attentively to the Christmas spirit, …